FARGO — Picture the waiting room from your childhood dentist. Chances are, there might be colorful walls and magazines to pass the time. A fish tank or a big piece of art to gaze into while having your teeth examined.
Artist Hope Thier remembers a poster with a sea of wild flowers.
"I would stare at it while they work on my teeth and just think, 'I want to be there.'" she says.
Now with the chance to make memories for many others, Thier’s colorful nature-inspired art lines the walls of Vetter Dental, 1331 32nd Ave. S., in Fargo. She says patients "want to see something colorful and familiar — comforting," and that’s just what they'll get with a lineup of animals layered with texture.
There’s a loose sketchy impression of a 12-point buck greeting people at the entrance. A big open-mouthed bass hangs at the end of a hallway. Not to mention an eagle, bison, bumblebee, robin or a monarch behind the front desk.
Thier is a contemporary artist with memorable works featuring figures like a giant T-rex bathed in vibrant hues. Her work ranges from sharp forms to almost completely abstract, but always has a relatable touch.
"It's amazing that we can have these beautiful pieces of work that are crafted in our own backyard in Fargo," says Austin Vetter, owner of the family dentistry practice.
His patients appreciate the color, and so do the staff. With employees spending a fourth of their time within the office walls, it’s important they feel a connection to the space.
A local art installation program called ArtWORKS from The Arts Partnership installs these dynamic exhibits throughout the Fargo-Moorhead metro area, cycling through work regularly.
"Sometimes we look at art and we think of it as this distant thing," Vetter says. "ArtWORKS is about appreciating the local arts."
For the staff at Vetter Dental, there’s twice the fun because they get to see the work go up and appreciate it every day, but also get a fresh perspective from patients every day.
"You should see us — we get so excited on art day when we get new art," Brittany Grunig says at the front desk.
Other locations hosting ArtWORKS include eateries like Nichole’s Fine Pastry and Luna Fargo, or financial centers like Choice Bank, all showing some of the region's finest creativity. The program also includes interactive elements, like art-making activities where staff get hands-on help.
New additions to the program this year included mini concerts in December from local musicians at Fargo's Hector International Airport.
Find out more about ArtWORKS at theartspartnership.net/artworks/ or by calling 701-237-6133.
This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit http://theartspartnership.net.